Interior Designer | Brand Boost + Author Boost

Off-White Textured Upholstery on Contemporary Seating
Off-White Textured Upholstery on Contemporary Seating

Modern-day interior designers should know that there are a few neat tricks you can do on your website AND blog to make YOU stand out more in Google when your clients search for you or the things you create.

I’m going to take you through two DIFFERENT but related changes to your blog/website.

Company Brand

When you search for a brand or a rock star or something famous(ish) then you sometimes will see some interesting bits of information appear on the right hand side of the Google search results…the place where the ads normally can be found. Try this search for Barack Obama to see what I mean. This interesting information might come from a Wikipedia entry about a rock stars career or it might tell you that company’s local contact information and maybe some images of their work or some customer reviews of their services.

If you can get a Wikipedia entry about your ‘notable’ business then you will have this problem solved. Tell me how you did it as it is notoriously difficult. (Hint: Don’t try).

You only sometimes see that information because the brand owner has only sometimes told Google what to put there. You can assume that Coca Cola have done this and this search for Coca Cola shows you. You’ll notice it is slightly different to the Obama-Wikipedia one, perhaps your version shows a local stockist?

Well; you are a brand owner of your interior design business. Have you told Google?

Here’s How

You need to potentially do quite a few things here. You (or your techie person) are going to be getting involved in HTML code using rel=’publisher’ and you are going to need to create a Google+ page for your business. If that hasn’t put you off let’s continue.

Firstly you need to create a Google+ account for YOU.

1. If your business has the website BlahDesign.com then you need to have a personal email such as Nathalie.Arrigone@BlahDesign.com (Nathalie@yahoo.com will not work). With that email address go and create a Google+ account for you ie Nathalie Arrigone. It is possible to create a login based on Nathalie.Arrigone@BlahDesign.com if you look closely.

  • Do not use the wrong name eg Nat Arrigone or Nathalie A. It will not work.
  • Do not try and put a funny picture there. It will not work
  • You need a passport standard photo. Otherwise it will not work.
  • Do not put a picture of your company or product. It will not work
  • Got the message?
  • You could of course create a totally fictitious persona based on a photo of your dearly departed aunty. Which would be a bit creepy 🙂

Almost there! Well the first part, at least.

2. While you are on your new Google+ page the only thing you NEED to do is to check that you are listed as a contributor to your website AND to your blog. Go to “About/Links” and add that information.

3. Now use this link to verify your email address.

4. Now choose your profile and then PAGES. Create a the appropriate page for your business. Ideally Local Business or Organisation

  • Add your real-world website AND verify it eg www.BlahDesign.com AND http://blog.BlahDesign.com
  • Add all the appropriate email addresses eg info@BlahDesign.com and verify them ALL including yours if you have not already done so..

5. Finally ! You have to now put a link on your website to your new Google+ PAGE – replace 1111111111111 with the number of your Google+ page. Do it on your home page and also for the home page of your blog.

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/111111111111111″ rel=”publisher”>

Please do not try to link this to your personal page. It will sort of work. For a while. You have been warned!

6. You can now test your new Google+ Company Page is working with the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. Just look for the section further down the page concerning the PUBLISHER information. It’s just that bit that should be nice and green coloured.

So that should be “all” you need to do for the company branding. You can play around some more with the Google+ Business Page and you can add map, product, address and other information which will also get shown by Google in various places.

2. Personal Branding – You as a creator of content. AUTHOR Boost

If you create truly meaningful content then you should go forwards with this option. This particular post that I am writing now would count as meaningful, original content. If you put up a blog post with the line “Here is a picture of a chair I like” – then that is not meaningful content. The content needs lots of original stuff (pictures and/or words and/or video).

Personal branding will mean that sometimes Google will very kindly put your Google+ image (from earlier) next to your content when it appears in their search results. Not always. Sometimes. When they choose. You can’t control it (and from 2015 onwards Google have decided to display it much less as it attracted people away from clicking on their ads !!)

You add this line to EVERY post your write and/or every page of your web site. You change the 4444444444 with your personal Google+ Account (not your company page. The company page will not work. Don’t do it. Honest).

<a href=https://plus.google.com/44444444444 rel=”author”>

Do not try and confused Google between the real you and your company…it will NOT work.

Textile Pinking Machines

For the emergency fabric samples that we sometimes have to make when we are out of stock of samples we use the GOLDSTAR pinking machine. Here’s a quick youtube video from the manufacturer

And here is another one that looks a bit more industrial strength.

Blue Velvet Chaise

Blue Velvet Chaise
Blue Velvet Chaise
Blue Velvet Chaise

We adore this striking blue velvet chaise from the fab.com website. Certainly a contemporary striking colour with a more classic and considered. KOTHEA upholstery velvets come in many exquisite qualities

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Designer Creates Bad Digital Impression?

Editions|Artists’ Book Fair
Editions|Artists’ Book Fair (Photo credit: j-No)

9 Ways for interior designers to create a bad impression – digitally of course!

When you first present to your newest prospect I’m pretty sure that you will be wearing your best ‘business’ clothes. When you first speak to a new client I’m sure you will make a real effort to do your best. When you send out a brochure or some other paper based literature I’m sure you will have it looking good. Hopefully too you take first emails seriously. And yes I’m sure your website looks great as well.

So all is hunky dory right? you can stop reading now and move on 🙂

Well firstly, before I get into the meat of the subject matter that drew you here, I suggest that one exercise you can do on a Friday afternoon is to write down EVERY single TYPE of point of contact that you make with clients. I’ve gone through a few of them in the opening to this post. No rocket science there. However what I suggest you do is really think if they all present a coherent view, when taken together, of you and your business. Do they look similar enough and do they say similar things and present similar images?

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

Just like that fine evening wear you have to impress on really special occasions and turn heads as you walk in the room all these points of contact between your business and your potential client are the same thing FOR YOUR BUSINESS (business? you know that thing that pays for the evening wear).

Well I’m going to talk a little about how to create a BAD digital first impression focussing on your website. So You need to look at the first page that people most often go to. In techie terms these are ‘landing pages’; they might include your home page or any special page that Google Adwords points to on your site or any page of yours that ranks particularly highly and get a lot of ‘hits’.

So to create  a BAD first impression here’s what your landing pages need to do:

  1. No Graphics: No logo, no head-shot of a smiley-you and certainly NOT clickable.
  2. Poor Content: Be sure to include waffle and irrelevance to the reason that drew the click..
  3. Lots of words and certainly no Bullet Points as bullet points are too easy to read.
  4. No Call to Action – an even better bad impression can be created if you make it as obscure as possible for the visitor to know what to do next. Perhaps presenting a beautiful image but making it as annoying as possible by adding some music and not making it obvious how to proceed to ANYWHERE else – Designers’ websites are OFTEN like this!
  5. White Papers, Videos, Registrations, etc: OK you might have accidentally put some of these on your website to be helpful but you can soon change any good impression that that might make by giving them away without even getting the visitor’s email.
  6. Confirmation/Thank You Pages: How rude! you forgot to add one of these and to make matters worse it didn’t offer the visitor another idea of what they could do on your site.
  7. Testing changes you make might improve a visitor’s experience to your site. So you certainly don’t want to do that..
  8. Google: create a bad impression with google as well. Ideally you will name your pages PAGE01, PAGE02 and so on. Never include keywords in the name of a page as that might help Mr Google do his job.
  9. Speling mstakes. Sme ppl really hate splling mistakes and abbreviations. Include a few to enrich their day.
  10. Always fail to deliver. Like by having 10 reasons rather than the advertised 9 reasons. Laugh! We might but our client’s probably won’t.

Am I perfect? No! Do I make these mistakes? Yes of course. It does provide some food for thought though.

Interior Designers & Pinterest

Many Interior Designers have Pinterest accounts and quite a few of us use them. Here are my thoughts on whether or not interior designers should use Pinterest and HOW they should best use Pinterest.

http://pinterest.com/paulaovallev/color/

Here, for example is Paula Ovalle Vicuña’s beautiful pinboard of colors. Now, this and similar boards are great sources of imagery for colours for interior designers and of course there are other pins showing styles and colour themes and so on. If you had a board like this you could show your clients on your iPAD as part of your presentations.

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

BUT think carefully about how you are going to use this as a tool to win more business. How are your potential clients going to be driven to you and/or your web site. Why is your potential client going to be looking on pinterest for work by interior designers. They MIGHT be using it as a means of selecting designers but IMHO I doubt that many potential customers will be doing that – some, for sure, but not many.

Now, your competitors may be using it to get some inspiration. So you’ve done a bit of work to help your competitors. That’s all well and good as others will reciprocate and you will benefit from that potentially. But that hasn’t got you any more sales has it?

If you are going to use pinterest for collecting and presenting images then it may be great as a productivity tool.

You have the option with pinterest of creating secret/hidden boards – that may be a good way forwards for those of you conscious NOT to help out your competitors!

So you have to answer this question: “Do my clients hang out on Pinterest so making them more likely to find out about my interior design skills from my Pinterest account?”.

IF you can answer that question positively then read on…

Effective Pinterest Marketing

1. Fill-in the Form! Setup You Account Properly – Gets the Basics Sorted Out

Your name (first and last), username, logo, About, Location and Website information should all be properly included. PLEASE if you can make sure that, for example, you use the same name as you do across all media – printed and electronic. It’s good for your ‘branding’. Verify your website and put your blog address in your ‘About’ section.

2. Be a digital stalker! Follow People – You build a following, which looks good to potential new followers, if you follow people. They often reciprocate. It’s a bit like Twitter in that respect. Perhaps look for people or boards with certain of your keywords on them and then follow those people.

3. In the Digital World, Content is King! Get content. Regularly seek out and add new relevant content. To be truly amazing you will, of course, add your own original content. Content may be the king but creativity rules the Empire of Design.

More?

Create a board and use it (link to it) on facebook or twitter to invite your other followers to discuss it.

When you blog you always add at least one great image right? Well make a collection of those great images on pinterest. That way you save a little time by using one piece of content twice.

Focus on the right content. Think always about your target customer. Only post what they are going to be interested in.

Put a url in your comments on pins to link back to the original content (your blog), Ibelieve I am right in saying that this URL is made clickable by pinterest.

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Interior Designers – Blog Topics

English: JC Hryb, interior designer/owner of S...
English: JC Hryb, interior designer/owner of Style de Vie and Twenty Gauge, promotional photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What can I write about?

Anything you want to of course. Although it is clearly best for you to write things that your target audience will be most interested in, the things that will make them come back to your blog again and again and again. In old marketing speak that raises your brand awareness (and the interest in it).

It’s also best to write the words that NEW potential clients are most likely to type into google.

However, I suspect that you have come to this post as you have run out of ideas. Don’t worry it happens to us all.

Use these tools to find alternative ways or approaches to subjects you have already written about:

Start By Asking Ubersuggest and Soovle Questions 

Click To Read More Interior Design Articles
Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

So try;

  • can interior designers do…
  • does an interior desinger need to…
  • will an interior design project involve
  • would an interior designer be better if he/she…
  • how could an interior designer improve…
  • why does an interior design project always…
  • when does and interior design project usually…
  • where does an interior designer buy…

Interior Designers’ iPAD essential apps

interior design oxford rogue designs

I’ve just got my new iPAD 3…yeah! Whilst it has obvious limitations and is a tad expensive, it is also ‘obviously’ a great creativity productivity tool for interior designers. You can benefit a lot from all the stuff that’s already built in when you buy it but what about those pesky apps? You know, the ones that are a few pounds/dollars but are rubbish and the ones that are free and awesome…it’s a bit of a minefield sorting through them all to find a useful gem to help you with productivity and creativity at work.

Here’s a bit of help for you with my list of iPAD essential apps for interior designers. Some are specifically useful to designers other more generally useful to your business usage of an iPAD. Please feel free to suggest some more I certainly haven’t used them all.

  1. Houzz: The “Wikipedia of interior and exterior design” by CNNHouzz has the largest database of home design ideas on the net, with over 200,000 high resolution photos. Watch out tho it can show TRADE PRICES in many places..not great for your client to see. **Free**
  2. AutoCAD WS: View, edit, and share your DWG™ files with anyone, anywhere. AutoCAD WS mobile app enables you to work with AutoCAD® drawings directly: Free
  3.  iHome HD: Many free interior pictures. Cost: Free but a more extensive version is available at an additional cost.
  4. Home Interior Ideas HD: the best app in AppStore for discovering home interior designs and decorating ideas. $1.99
  5. Interior 2011 – Sweet Home (HD): find your perfect House Design. With Interior 2012 you can enjoy a wide variety of manufacturers in the area of Home Decoration and Interior Design. $0.99
  6. Dream home HD:  integrate the latest interior design trends into your home.  Explore the immense variety of decor solutions from professional designers for your entire home, browse through hundreds of real photos and navigate through the extensive menu of colors, styles and room types. From tiny efficient accents to the most sophisticated interiors, Dream Home HD contains a top class collection of ideas for the home of your dream. $4.99
  7. Remodelista: Get your daily deco fix with the new Home Design App from Remodelista, the online sourcebook: $2.99
  8. Phaidon Design Classics: comprehensive collection of general design classics including interiors: $19.99
  9. Sensopia : Create visual instant floor plans – I like it anyway!
  10. Moodboard: Creates a Moodboard! Does what it says. $15.

Secret Bit

Additional info and a link to:

Target Markets For Interior Designers

Oooooh!

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles
Some more…
  1. SktechBook Pro: Capture design ideas no matter where you are. A professional-grade paint and drawing application: $4.99
  2. Color Wheel: An OK but basic application that allows you to experiment with different colour schemes: $0.99
  3. Penultimate: Can’t be bothered to use a pen and paper but want that same look…this is the one. It can also do graph/lined paper…cool $1.99
  4. Peppermint, NCS Color: If you frequently work with color and need an incredibly accurate tool for making choices or purchases, the Peppermint app is one for you: $3.99
  5. Quill: is a vector art drawing program, a bit limited but OK: $0.99
  6. Freeform: is a vector drawing tool for your iPad perhaps worth a bit of research before spending: $9.99
  7. Adobe Ideas: Digital sketchbook that you will probably get if you already use Adobe stuff. Reports of quite a few bugs in this app tho: $5.99
  8. Brushes: A painting app for experimentation and drawing, a snip at $7.99 but is it as good as the INSPIRE app?
  9. PhotoPad: Change the look of a photo for some FREE inspiration.
  1. Dropbox: A FREE MUST-HAVE app and the first that I installed. An iPAD is essentially a glorified phone rather than a simplified MAC/PC. One of the downsides is that you can’t always get files to and from the iPAD so easily. DROPBOX lets you do this and backs them up for free on the net. Similar in some ways to iCLOUD probably best to use if you have PCs as well. $Free
  2. Evernote: Take notes, save clips, cost: Free
  3. Simplenote: Take notes, save clips, cost: Free
  4. OmniFocus: Expensive at $39.99 Task management, scheduling and projects.
  5. MindNode: Mind Mapping …like but shame it’s not free! $5.99
  6. Things: Scheduling, tasks and assignments, OUCH $19.99
  7. Task Cards: Task management and organisation all for: $2.99
  8. Week Calendar: View your week and you can integrate with project phases and scheduling all at $1.99
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Interior Designer: Target Markets & Marketing Strategy

Customers are Ignoring You
Customers are Ignoring You (Photo credit: ronploof)

Whether you are a new Interior Designer or an accomplished Interior Designer of repute and long standing there is always a need to know who your target customers are. In fact, if you don’t really know your target customers then, unless you are lucky, you will not stay in business long.

Times change. Remember what was a great target market in the boom times might not be if things get tough, you should look at your target markets annually.

There are broadly two types of customer; residential, and commercial. The former would be characterised by an individual or household decision making unit whereas the latter would be characterised as an organisation, potentially an organisation can be very difficult to deal with as it can be more complex with decision makers, buyers, specifiers, influencers and many people involved in the decision making processes.

A potential, residential customer could be a friend, relation, someone down the road, a referral. Essentially someone who wants to ‘do’ their living space.

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

A potential commercial customer could be a hotel chain, your local restaurant, the office where someone you know works; often it will be a ‘workplace’ of some sorts but it could also include a large property developer/builder building an apartment block or a private aircraft or yacht manufacturer/designer.

What is NOT a target market. Green design is NOT a target market. Kitchen design is NOT a target market. You must always phrase the target market in terms of the customer. So the preceding examples become: People who are environmentally conscious in their interiors purchasing decisions; and People who are replacing their kitchen.
Remember. There are a LOT of people in this world. There are a LOT of workplaces in this world. So you will probably need several criteria to precisely specify your target market.
And here is where it gets tricky.
You can use criteria like:  Age; Location; Gender; Income level; Education level; Marital or family status;  Occupation; and Ethnic background. But then, really, how meaningful is that for your marketing? If one of your criteria is “educational level” then, for example, ‘graduate’ may well describe all of your previous customers BUT how useful is that criteria in seeking out new customers? Will you really vet everyone that comes to you to see if they have a degree? Will you assume that all graduates are intelligent (very many are not, trust me!)? Will you assume that all graduates are wealthier? In  your marketing how exactly can you target graduates? If you use alumni magazines for advertising then I admit that would be a great route to graduates but really alumni magazines!? With the advent of Facebook advertising you CAN specify that adverts are only shown to graduates…so assuming that the Facebook user is telling the truth about themselves then OK I accept that would be reasonable. Think it through, whatever you decide.
So what you are trying to achieve with your target markets is a level of manageable clarity. Clarity in the sense that it becomes clear who your customers are going to (hopefully) be. You can see how your marketing efforts will be focussed towards them. Manageable in the sense that there are enough that you can ‘easily’ target them with the money, time and manpower you have available for marketing.
Do not fall into the trap of saying that your target market is “People who buy my type of service”. That won’t really help you! despite it being obviously true.
Once you properly know your target markets (which might require some research) you will be able to work out how big they are. You will be able to see how easily you can get your message to them. You will be able to assess if they can afford your services. Much of your marketing will ‘fall into place’ relatively straightforwardly once you have figured out what you are selling and who you are selling it to.
Remember that there are LOTS of people out there trying to get the same business that you are. So you have to be smart. The obvious market may well be obvious to 100 other interior designers and your basic design service the same as the one offered by those 100 other designers. Often it is good to aim for a less crowded market with a relatively unique offering that is suited precisely to that market. Easier “said”, than “done”, of course.
Here are some suggestions:
Commercial Interiors
  • Hospitality & Leisure
  • Marine
  • Medical
  • Aerospace
Residential Interiors
  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital or family status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic background
  • Eco-buyers
  • Buy to let
  • New builders
  • Renovators
  • Landlords
  • Tech savvy
  • Time poor family
  • Friends
  • Networks/ past client networks

If the target user of your service is someone you might not directly contact and you have to go through someone else (usually an organisation). then that organisation becomes your channel to market.

Examples here include;

If you have any additions to suggest please add them via a comment below. I will put them into this list.

There are links below to more related and detailed stuff. Here are some of the posts I previously wrote or you can find them all in one go by <clicking here>
Related articles
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The Proactive Interior Designer 1.0

Thinking
Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_on_10th_OCT)

Still waiting?

You might have to wait a long time for your next piece of work to fall into your lap. Here are a couple of thoughts for the weekend about being more creative and proactive in your search for new client projects.

1. Your existing clients. They know you. You know they already spend money on interior projects. You know they already spend money with you and probably trust you. That sounds promising. You might even know some issues that exist with other rooms or other properties owned by the client.

My suggestion here would be to put together some conceptual proposals (at your own expense) on how to solve these problems. The chances are your client is already aware of the broad issues but not the solutions. Move the thought process on.

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

2. Plan with your clients. Talk to your clients about their plans for the coming year. It will be good to make them think about uplifting additions to their life or business and it might even get them to start planning next year’s projects and expenditure with you. Remember that although you may well think about Interior Design 100% of the time, your clients do not. Sometimes their thoughts need putting on the right path! As you talk about their plans you will have more information to come back with proposals over the coming months and in the worst case you may even have reminded the client about you rather than that other pesky interior designer who keeps calling here all the time.

Still waiting?